Competitor Comparison
Local 3PLs

Airhouse vs. Local 3PLs

Weighing a locally owned and operated 3PL vs. Airhouse? Go with the fulfillment provider that’s proven it can scale with your company.

Top reasons to go with Airhouse vs. Local 3PLs

Independent, local 3PLs have no order minimums and keep operations close to home. But many DTC brands quickly outgrow these warehouses’ limited capabilities and antiquated model.

We act as an extension of your logistics team.

We understand that you’re not just outsourcing pick-and-pack and storage—you’re trying to take the heavy lifting of fulfillment off your plate. At Airhouse, we assign every customer a dedicated Account Manager who will proactively monitor operations, provide consultative support, and act as your warehouse ambassador.

Our managed warehouse network keeps us flexible.

Most warehouses represent two extremes. They're too rigid, with no tolerance for customization. Or they're too generic, reinventing the wheel every time they try to meet the unique needs of modern brands. Airhouse uses a network of pre-vetted, rigorously tested warehouses to meet a wide array of customer needs without forfeiting speed and efficiency.

Modular services let you build a solution that suits your needs.

Our warehouse network is flexible enough to support any growth strategy. Whether DTC or B2B, domestic or international, you can mix and match our services, warehouses, and support to meet your customers’ demands. 

Our proprietary technology puts you in control.

Your 3PL’s platform is mission control for all things fulfillment—so shouldn’t it be easy to use? Our software, built by Silicon Valley engineers, is central to the Airhouse model because we believe you should be able to control your operations without playing telephone.

Why choose Airhouse vs. Local 3PLs for your fulfillment?


The biggest reason ecommerce brands leave their local 3PL for Airhouse is growth: independent warehouses simply can’t keep up with high-growth online merchants. 

Airhouse was designed to empower DTC brands to grow. Our managed warehouse network and international footprint allows our customers to use multiple fulfillment centers to cut down on shipping costs, while our EDI technology and B2B warehouse experts provide the necessary foundation for wholesale fulfillment. Proactive, on-site quality control and real-time insights through the dashboard ensure you maintain the level of service your customers expect, even as you double, triple, and quadruple in size.

The benefits of planning for growth with Airhouse vs. a local 3PL:

Access to dozens of warehouses nationwide
Warehouses in 40 countries
On-site quality control
Hands-off wholesale order preparation
Expiration and lot tracking
Custom packaging

Customer support

When it comes to something as complex as fulfillment, reliable customer support is critical. Mom & Pop 3PLs usually rely on emails to communicate with their merchants, or they outsource support to a third party who isn’t even in the warehouse—which seriously limits how much they can help you. 

At Airhouse, we act as an extension of your team. When you work with us, you’ll have a dedicated Account Manager to proactively monitor your operations, consult with you on key decisions, and troubleshoot issues as—or before—they arise. And while you can always email your Account Manager, they’re available for video calls when you just need to talk face-to-face.

The benefits of choosing Airhouse vs. a local 3PL for reliable customer support:

Dedicated Account Manager
Rigorous warehouse pre-vetting
Inventory protection
Mispick protection
On-site quality control
Transparent, a la carte billing


Local 3PLs tend to offer vague pricing—a lot of the time, your invoices will just include a lump sum charge for “packaging,” “shipping,” and “storage” without any line item detail. As ecommerce brands grow, that information becomes crucial for optimizing costs and growing margins. 

A la carte fulfillment pricing models like Airhouse’s provide better visibility into cost fluctuations from month to month and order to order with itemized invoices. Plus, the bigger your fulfillment provider, the more negotiating leverage they’ll have with carriers, meaning lower shipping costs for your business.

Here are the benefits of our a la carte pricing model at Airhouse vs. a local 3PL:

Invoices with line-item detail per order
A la carte packaging and shipping costs
Carrier rate shopping
No onboarding or software fees
0% shrinkage rate
Risk-free trial period


As small businesses, local 3PLs typically need to license their WMS, which rarely has merchant-facing features. Their customers are reliant on email communication, manual accounting, and order tracking numbers to monitor operations. 

The complexity of your fulfillment operations will scale with your business. You need software that will let you build multiple workflows and monitor operations at scale. At Airhouse, we’ve built a powerful, intuitive platform that gives you total control over your logistics, from setting custom order logic to pausing individual orders. 

The benefits of choosing Airhouse vs. a local 3PL for powerful technology:

Direct ecommerce integrations and open API
Real-time inventory, order, and returns tracking
Warehouse-provided and managed EDI
Automatic, no-setup multi-warehouse order routing
Carrier-calculated checkout rates
SKU-based custom logic

"In order to grow, we needed a reliable fulfillment partner, but these small shops felt like they were hitting a ceiling just doing a few hundred orders a week. Shipping was inconsistent, and I couldn’t imagine doing thousands of orders with them."

Partner at Superculture

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Ready to try something different?

Talk to one of our fulfillment experts to learn how Airhouse can help your business.